Speak Slowly

It allows you to choose your words more carefully and, in fact, to choose your words in the first place. Often, we blurt out whatever first comes to mind when we most need to do the opposite. Emotions and eloquence rarely go together.

The most important part, however, is that speaking slowly gives you time to see how the person you are talking to reacts, and only when you empathize with their reaction can you adjust not just your words but also your tone. “The tone makes the music,” we say in Germany.

A harsh piece of criticism delivered softly can work wonders in getting an employee to try harder. A sad truth delivered calmly will open the door to a conversation instead of a shouting match.

In the movie Hitch, Will Smith’s character claims 30% of human communication is tone. That might be a stretch, but how you speak definitely matters a great deal on top of what you say.

Speak slowly so that, like in a good song, your melody and lyrics may always blend together. Let them walk hand in hand. In doing so, you will give us the gift of feeling calm, comforted, and inspired in your presence — and that feeling will last long after the last word has been said.